Entering the room full of Lorenzo’s colleagues, we were greeted by joyous shouts of Renzo! Renzo! Of course he was a popular figure at parties. If I’d thought about it I would have predicted it. But all I’d considered as were walking over was conquering my nervousness at meeting Lorenzo’s friends and co-workers, in particular the guest of honor this evening.
The gathering was a good-bye party for Rainbow, a California girl who had spent the last few months working in Lorenzo’s department at the university.
Rainbow sped lightly across the carpet and latched onto Lorenzo the minute she spied him. Close up, she was very much the blonde, hippie Northern California type, though not as girlish as she’d seemed at first. She looked to be about Lorenzo’s age, perhaps ten years older than the normal post-graduate student.
Earlier, Lorenzo had admitted he’d been taken in by her sunny California flair when they’d first met. But it was a short fling once he realized she was much more style than substance. Tonight, however, though her current boyfriend had followed her across the room, it didn’t look like Rainbow had any intention of letting go of Lorenzo’s arm.
Though we had been introduced, I realized I was invisible to Rainbow. I wished I was anywhere else. But this was a command performance for Lorenzo’s work. Desperately scanning the room for distraction, I quickly slipped over to the drinks table. There, I poured myself a hefty glass. This time I chose Asti Secco, a newer type of sparkler: dry, and with a higher alcohol content. If Italian wine producers didn’t abhor a comparison to France, they would have said it was similar to Champagne. I chose Asti Secco for its body and strength; the delicate pleasure of Moscato d’Asti would have to wait…for Lorenzo to return.